This summer has been a whirlwind and an absolute joy. We traveled to Paris and the South of France, said goodbye to our San Francisco family for good, moved the last of our things from SF back to Virginia, and became Philadelphia Eagles.With a few more trips to Atlanta, Canada, Ft. Lauderdale, New York, Orlando, San Francisco and Virginia…it is safe to say we are proud of our frequent flyer mile progress. This amount of travel certainly left us exhausted, but we had the time of our lives being able to spend every day together.
Two days ago, at five in the morning, armed with a fresh batch of cookies and three suitcases-my husband drove off to training camp. This is different than every other training camp we’ve experienced. Yes the NFL makes sure these men are 100% focused on football and the upcoming season by plucking them from their households and having them stay on-site for three or more weeks; that hasn’t changed. This time, however, instead of being ten minutes away, my husband is a three hour drive away from me. Now, we will always be a marriage that started in long distance relationships. After seeing eachother for a few hours a month for six months a year when we first started dating, we are true professionals at communication and keeping an emotional closeness when there is no opportunity for hugging and snuggling and all that gushy stuff.
With that being said, the start of football season is never easy. During the off season, my husband (and all of these incredible guys in the league,) wake up, find a football field and get their drills in. The closer the season gets, the more they work out- lifting in the morning, doing drills in the evenings, getting massages three times a week on problem areas, icing every night while watching Chopped or whatever Real Housewives I convince him to get into, and so on. This is the life of every athlete and in the off season it is a strict but relaxed environment. In the off season, I still have all his attention and his schedules revolve around our family. We still can stay up as late as we want talking or taking a walk or meeting up with friends. Because they cannot travel at all during the season, off season brings exploration and adventures in magical places. Really and truly, the off season is just a rare moment where football moves to second place.
The week before training camp, football mode sets in. Every girlfriend, fiance and wife can tell you what football mode is. Growing up in an NFL household has numbed me to it- my dad is in football mode for about 9 months out of the year. My mom knows it so well. It is subtle at first, but it is definite. We find ourselves repeating things more, laughing at something hysterical alone, being the only one eating dessert, and finding more and more scribbles of plays around the house. The shift is quick. The second they drive off to training camp, football season is officially here- and despite their best efforts, it proudly reclaims its first place spot. I call football season ‘robot-mode.’ He wakes up, has his quiet time, leaves to the facility, comes home at 5, and I make a lean, protein filled meal. Dinner is our time to catch up and we soak up every minute. After this he watches film, studies, and goes to sleep. Put that on repeat from August- the start of January and there you have it!
As we await the end of training camp and the pre-season, I think it is important to pray for all the NFL families. That we would trust that everything that happens this season is part of Our Father’s awesome plan. From everyone in situations with new teams and those waiting to make the roster to those with injuries and more losses than wins…I pray for peace. Peace is hard to come by in the season, when the coaches, media and the fans are trying to tell you the worth of your loved one. Thank the Lord our identity is found in Him- not in our stats. For the significant others especially I pray for energy to handle all that football seasons bring on. I ask for the strength to be the support and serving spirits we are called to be. It is officially football season– may it be a healthy one, a successful one, and a may we learn something new from every experience. God Bless the NFL!
Here are some photos from Team Atogwe’s summer!